×

Abu Dhabi Fest To Open With ‘Life of Crime’

Hiam Abbas to be honored with Black Pearl career nod

The Abu Dhabi Film Festival has unveiled its lineup featuring a wide range of works from emerging and established Arab filmmakers, comprising nine world preems from the Middle East unspooling alongside selected entries from the cream of this year’s international fest circuit crop.

Fest will open with a gala screening of U.S. helmer Daniel Schechter’s Elmore Leonard adaptation “Life of Crime,” getting its Mid-East preem after bowing in Toronto.

Abu Dhabi’s seventh edition — the second headed headed by Ali Al Jabri — will also fete Palestinian multi hyphenate Hiam Abbas with its Black Pearl Career Achievement Award.

Abbas, who starred in Steven Spielberg’s “Munich,” Thomas McCarthy’s “The Visitor,” and Eran Riklis’ “Lemon Tree,” among other films, made her directorial debut in 2012 with Palestinian frontier zone family saga “Inheritance.” The latest pic in which she stars is Ghazi Albuliwi’s “Peace After Marriage,” which will world preem in Abu Dhabi’s Showcase section.

World preems in the narrative feature competition include Moroccan helmer Hicham Ayouch’s “Fevers,” set in a French slum and “In the Sands of Babylon,” by Iraqi-Dutch director Mohamed Jabarah Al-Daradji. Egyptian social drama “Villa – 69,” a first narrative feature by Ayten Amin who co-directed docu “Tahrir 2011: the Good, the Bad and the Politician,” will bow in the fest’s New Horizons section. These three works are supported by Abu Dhabi’s film fund Sanad, which means “support” in Arabic.

Popular on Variety

Among this year’s standouts on the international fest circuit getting their Mid-East launches from Abu Dhabi are Danis Tanovich’s “An episode in the Life of an Iron Picker” and “Child’s Pose” by Calin Peter Netzer, which both bowed in Berlin; Jia Zhangke’s “Touch of Sin,” which launched at Cannes; and Venice Golden Lion winner “Sacro GRA,” by Gianfranco Rosi, which will screen in the Documentary Feature Competition section which is particularly strong this year.

Merzak Allouache, who is considered Algeria’s most important living director, will be honored with the Variety Middle East Filmmaker of the Year award at the fest, where his latest film, “The Rooftops,” a depiction of contempo Algerian society viewed from rooftops in five different Algiers neighborhoods, will unspool after bowing in Venice, along with his first work, the 1976 comedy “Omar Gatlato.”

Fest runs October 24-November 2.

More Film

  • A couple wearing face masks walk

    Coronavirus May Hurt China's Long-Term Entertainment Industry Goals

    Halting all film releases and closing cinemas over Chinese New Year was the most dramatic possible expression of the emergency response to the novel coronavirus threat that spread from the city of Wuhan in January. The movie distribution and exhibition sectors had been counting on a billion dollars of box office revenue over the 10-day [...]

  • Dead & Beautiful

    Berlin: Shudder Pre-Buys David Verbeek's Asian Vampire Movie 'Dead & Beautiful' (EXCLUSIVE)

    AMC Networks’ streaming service Shudder has acquired the genre thriller “Dead & Beautiful,” directed prominent Dutch filmmaker David Verbeek (“Full Contact”), for the U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. The film is represented in international territories by Indie Sales. Verbeek’s seventh feature “Dead & Beautiful” follows a group of young and spoiled teenagers [...]

  • A couple wearing face masks walk

    Berlin Festival Braced for Coronavirus, But Greater Headaches Afoot for Chinese Industry

    The Berlin Festival has taken a hit from the coronavirus epidemic that began in China, but the absence of Chinese buyers may signal wider industry problems. Festival organizers, who do not anticipate further virus-related damage, told Variety that 118 individuals set to attend from China have cancelled, out of approximately 21,000 accreditations. From other territories [...]

  • Chinese director Wang Xiaoshuai poses during

    The Match Factory Boards Wang Xiaoshuai’s ‘Above the Dust’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Leading arthouse film sales company The Match Factory has boarded Wang Xiaoshuai’s drama “Above the Dust,” the follow-up to the director’s “So Long, My Son,” which won Silver Bears for best actor and actress at last year’s Berlin Film Festival, and was distributed in more than 30 territories. Wang’s screenplay is an adaptation of Li [...]

  • Claire Denis, Noomi Rapace, Olivia Wilde,

    Berlin Film Market Adjusts to Major Shifts in Global Business

    Trends and shifts in the global indie film biz mark the 2020 European Film Market. Women direct or star in some of the hottest packages being brought to Berlin: Olivia Wilde’s biopic of gymnast Kerri Strug, “Perfect,” from FilmNation; Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut, “The Lost Daughter,” starring Olivia Colman, sold by Endeavor Content; Noomi Rapace-starrer [...]

  • Ordinary Justice

    New Italian Sales Company Vision Distribution Launches From EFM With Big Ambitions (EXCLUSIVE)

    New Italian sales company Vision Distribution, headed by veteran executive Catia Rossi, is launching from the European Film Market with a still-small multi-genre slate but big ambitions to become a leading global distributor of Italy’s domestic output. Having a new player with muscle and expertise specifically dedicated to distributing Italian movies internationally is good news [...]

  • “This Is Not A Burial, It’s

    African Voices Speak Up at Festivals

    The dearth of African contenders in the main competition at this year’s Berlinale might come as no surprise to the continent’s perennially disappointed filmmakers. One could argue — not unfairly — that Africa is still underrepresented at the world’s top film festivals. But you wouldn’t have to look hard to find emerging African voices in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content